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Extremely delighted to see the entry of foreign firms and lawyers in India .

"Time has come to take a call on the issue. Bar Council of India is of the view that opening up of law practice in India to foreign lawyers in the field of practice of foreign law; diverse international legal issues in nonlitigious matters and in international arbitration cases would go a long way in helping legal profession/domain grow in India to the benefit of lawyers in India too."

At least the corporate sector gets profitable with this . Also The article quoted β€œ

- They shall be allowed to practice on transactional work/corporate work such as joint ventures, mergers and acquisitions, intellectual property matters, drafting of contracts and other related matters on reciprocal basis.”

[TOI: https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/bar-council-allows-foreign-lawyers-law-firms-to-practice-in-india/articleshow/98654185.cms ]

[Notification: https://www.documentcloud.org/documents/23707847-bar-council-of-india-allows-entry-of-foreign-law-firms ]
Read it first guys. I really doubt any firm is coming. Reason -

"Provided that an Advocate enrolled with any State Bar Council in India and is a partner or Associate in any Foreign Law Firm registered in India under these rules and regulations, can take up only the non-litigious matters and can advise on issues relating to countries other than the Indian Laws only. Such Lawyer shall have no advantage / right of his being an Advocate enrolled in India."

What US/UK law firm will open office in India and engage you to advise on US/UK law?

No one's coming.
It's should not be hard to find workaround this restriction. Quick ones I'm thinking out loud:

A. Operate how Big4 do in India. Have several Indian incorporated LLP/entities with Indian only (or dual qualified) partners. Have these entities pay for brand licenses fees, fractional office space rent, and shared services. Hence you have a fully Indian law firm entity which is an Affiliate of say A&O India. What will stop A&O branded Gokulchand Manikanthan LLP from advising on Indian law?

B. Be cheeky and don't call retainers as 'Associate / Partner'. Call or something else or structure it differently.
Many things to consider.

First, we need a treaty with the countries that would allow Indian lawyers to practice in their country in the same manner.

Second, any foreign law firm would need to invest a large amount in an Indian office. Indian clients are usually not the best paymasters. For large Indian transactions, you do see foreign lawyers. But they are perfectly capable of working on the matters remotely.

Thirdly, Indian lawyers who work for foreign firms can take up only the non-litigious matters and can advise on issues relating to countries other than the Indian Laws only. Such Lawyer shall have no advantage / right of his being an Advocate enrolled in India. So unless an Indian lawyer has the relevant foreign qualification and advises on foreign law, he can't effectively work at a foreign firm.
There is nothing happening.

1. They may end up opening offices here (of the size of what CAM has in Singapore or Khaitan in the US) but cannot expect any significant hiring from the indian grad pool. Their offices would at best be satellite offices for soliciting business or providing secretarial support in case of arbitrations (if happening in India) or for government registrations/approvals etc.

2. Even if they open offices here what would be the point of hiring Indian grads if they are practicing foreign law anyways? Similar issue as limited vacation schemes/training contracts for Indian grads sans the visa sponsorship problem.

All in all, the widespread excitement about lala firms going down or working conditions improving significantly is unfounded.
www.barandbench.com/amp/story/news/bar-council-of-india-allows-entry-of-foreign-lawyers-and-law-firms

THIS IS BIG.

It is still a long way from the liberalisation of the Indian legal sector, but it's definitely a step in a positive direction. This could genuinely open so many opportunities for corporate lawyers. UK & US firms would most probably expand to India for doing their work at cheaper rates, this could also mean that the demand for international law experts are bound to increase. As far as I can infer, they will be allowed to practice on transactional or corporate work such as joint ventures, mergers and acquisitions, intellectual property matters, drafting of contracts, and other related matters, while excluding litigious matters.

What do law firm peeps think of this?
Sadly, two whole generations of NLU grads (Gen X and Gen Y) are too old to benefit from this :(
I literally feel like dancing to Naatu Naatu !!

My message to all the Lala firms: πŸ–•πŸ–•πŸ–•πŸ–•πŸ–•πŸ–• πŸ’©πŸ’©πŸ’©πŸ’©πŸ’©πŸ’©

In just 5 years time, these firms will be lucky if even Amity grads apply to them.
You know it is unlikely that foreign firms will become the largest employers in India even in 5 years... Most will probably stay quite small operations...
That's what people thought about audit firms when they were allowed in at first, within 2-3 years they hired more than all existing Indian audit firms put together
Would this make Private International Law see more momentum among students and lawyers alike?
I am reminded of the meme with the oooo song (Bilal Saeed). But this time I am picturing Cyril Shroff's face with the song πŸ˜‚

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q836C2QR41A
This must be linked to the UK-India FTA, I guess? Ameet Datta from Saikrishna has also tweeted this. Anyway, great news and thank you Mr Sunak and Mr Modi!
Another Masterstroke by Modi! Surgical striked all over Lala firm’s annals.
My hope is this should democratize law firms and legal services. Let this infuse more professionalism, investment and technology, the sector is lagging so hard. EU US firms were doing 15 years ago what passes off as state of the art today in India.
Everyone is coming - dla piper like firms have been hunting for Indian grads for ages now
Bhai - they were hunting for their foreign offices. If the Indian grads are so good, but they cant use them in India the moment they hire them as associate/partner, then why come to India in the first place?
For the transaction work on non-litigious matters - literally been pointed there
Foreign firms can't practice Emirati, Singaporean or Chinse law as well. Doesn't stop firms from having offices in Dubai, Singapore or Shanghai.
- They shall be allowed to practice on transactional work/corporate work such as joint ventures, mergers and acquisitions, intellectual property matters, drafting of contracts and other related matters on reciprocal basis.

Does this mean they can eat into lala firm activities?
No bro - see the proviso above. Its a proviso in the same para 8(2). The moment you are retained as associate/ partner, you can advise on Indian laws. Your state bar registration is no good. Only foreign laws.
Please also read 9(iii). They will simply enter into advisory agreements with their employee lawyers. There are thousands of workarounds. It’s the same thing that happened in the Singapore market.
This is huge, will surely increase more options and increase in average pay and a further hike in highest pay.
Will it help insolvency lawyers? I am starting my career in IBC practice (transactional).
Here's the real deal. It's a great move, but it will take at least 15-20 years to radically transform the legal landscape. Thus, the real beneficiaries will be Gen Alpha and Gen Beta, rather than Gen X/Y/Z.
I will be graduating in 2028. What might be the possible scenario after this change when I am done with my graduation?
Ye baatei chhodo ,ye tumhara batch of 28' itna pagal kyu ho chuka hai.Whenever I open LinkedIn,I can only see y'all filling up my connection page.Also what is this USIP, American bar association membership,oh god I even saw someone mention himself as a manupatra researcher.College mei ghuse nahi ho , certified researcher pehle ban gaye
Exactly, I used to find accounts like these and think, "Ye konse certification/membership hai jo HSF mein vacation scheme karne wale k pas bhi nahi hai
Abbey Pehle graduate to kar le. Graduate nahin hoga to foreign kya- district court mein bhi naukri nahil milegi.
I don't think there would be anything "disruptive" per se. As other folks have pointed out, it would be more of a gradual influx of foreign law firms. The only real application this notification brings is that foreign law firms can basically set up their branch and hire Indian people to work on their already existing clientele. In my honest opinion, not allowing them to work on Indian matters doesn't change much as long as foreign firms are keen to exploit the cheaper billable rates offered to Indian associates for their foreign work.

For anything to really change, there has to be consensus that there is a real potential in the Indian legal talent among leading law firms.

What could change:

1. More opportunities for corporate lawyers in all their respective domains.

2. More opportunities = more intake of law graduates.

3. I speculate that the income increase would only be offered by a few select foreign firms that are willing to pay the big bucks to attract the cream of the crop of law graduates, Indian law firms might follow suit depending on the availability of the desired law graduates.
The same way they do in most other Asian/LatAm countries. They hire people who get their LLMs and get licensed in the country whose law the firm practices and get them to advise on UK/US law in the regional offices in these countries. It's standard practice across US law firm offices in China, Hong Kong, Singapore and Tokyo. It is likely that the same thing will be implemented in India.
Agree. All the excitement is about nothing. They'd rather stay abroad and do what they do than paying in India for the same
Seems like kids from colleges are messaging here. Nothing is changing. Chill.
Look at the bigger picture, they allowed them to outsource foreign law advisory work to Indian advocates and get it done at a much cheaper rate and create more jobs for Indian advocates.

Exactly what Big 4 accounting firms are doing in India with their global centers. And they will probably have tie ups with Indian law firms for Indian advisory work like BSR KPMG and Nangia Andersen. ( but this will take years to happen)

As far as Indian law firms are concerned they are not going anywhere. ( but lets hope that salaries and work life balance improves)
If you look at how US/UK firms have entered other markets - they have been able to throw money at high-profile partners and teams and retain best talent. There are many US and UK firms that have been waiting to enter India -- with the exchange rate, if they even pay close to US or UK scales (which they will), the pay difference b/w Indian and such foreign firm offices will be massive. Anyone with a foreign bar qualification and/or LLM is at a huge advantage . It will change the Indian legal market in the next 5-10 years, and we'll look back at the time when foreign firms were not allowed.....
How much of what non litigation lawyers in India work upon is taught to them in colleges?

Foreign law can also be learned while at work. Look at tech folks. Nothing of what they do is taught to them in colleges.
Foreign qualified lawyers who came back to India are at an advantage here. This will also really open up opportunities abroad for Indian lawyers pursuing their LLMs. One of the biggest drawbacks of the job market abroad post LLM was that the foreign law hiring would get eaten up by EU and LATAM lawyers since big law has offices there and would prefer to just hire lawyers who had already worked at one of their overseas offices. Indian lawyers never had that option since foreign law firms weren’t allowed.
Sshhh... don't mention foreign LLMs! If there's one thing LI readers hate it's people with foreign LLMs (because they are jealous). Typical reactions: "privileged", "rich", "savarna", "nepo kid", "woke human rights kid" etc πŸ˜‚
I feel only Firms who would be worried about this development are the 2 or 3 Partner boutique Firms. They were anyway struggling to attract talent now, in the coming days they will find it really difficult to attract more. So lot of the (potential) comments here and other forum would be from such entities. As far as the large Firms, like KCO, SAM, CAM etc., they have so much talent pool in their ranks, (besides the goodwill), that they will not be too bothered. They will be equal competitors to them.
This removes all doubt that the BJP is much more reformist than the Congress.

- Nehru-Indira perpetuated licence raj, Nehru nationalised Air India and literally stole it from JRD Tata, Indira nationalised banks

- Vajpayee created a separate ministry for disinvestment, Modi handed Air India back to the Tatas, other companies have also been privatised, saving thousands of crores to the exchequer.

- Modi has allowed foreign universities, increased FDI limits in various sectors
Meanwhile our taxes have increased. Unemployment has increased. Social divisiveness has increased. Prices have increased. The number irrational and over reaching laws has increased. Curbs on free speech have increased. The divide between the rich and the poor has increased.
Buddy, the poor were even worse off before liberalisation, under Nehru and Indira licence raj. So were civil liberties, with only 1 government news channel (DD) and no internet.
All the MNC business for these large law firms will dry up.....the MNC will be told by their foreign parent companies to shift their legal needs to the foreign law firms of their country and the Indian firms will have to approach the foreign law firms for the Indian law part of the legal work .Billing will go seriously down for Tier 1 law firms In India
The billables of foreign law firms are significantly higher than the Indian Law firms so I don't think that's gonna happen
https://www.barandbench.com/news/litigation/foreign-lawyers-treat-poor-litigants-well-tough-competition-indian-lawyers-gujarat-high-court............

...........

Foreign law firms and lawyers cannot appear before Courts and Tribumals but The arbitration business of India will go away into the hands of foreign law firms and lawyers.Even the India matters the foreign law firm will tie up with a Indian firm then the name on vakaltnama will be Indian but the work and billing will also go foreign law firms.Basically the disputes teams that appear in Indian Courts will not worry that much but arbitration work is going to ho away from Indian law firms
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Shut up Lala........this entry of foreign law firms and lawyers will enabke the same liberalization that happened for Tech sector Tge foreign firms will hire Ibdia lawyers who will then use the opportunity to migrate abroad being willing to work at fraction of salary total paid to foreign lawyer abroad...brain drain of legal sector will start
Basically associates will join foreign law firms for advising in the Indian law leg and study their international laws......few years they will be able to ask for a position abroad by which time they would be good enough to handle the foreign law aspects.............This really does give hope to many a lawyers who otherwise have to work for free for senior advocates.
https://www.barandbench.com/news/litigation/foreign-lawyers-treat-poor-litigants-well-tough-competition-indian-lawyers-gujarat-high-court

A judge of the Gujarat High Ciurt has expressed happiness on entry of foreign law firms holding opinion that litigants Will get treated better.......She has nicely observed how ill treated poor litigants are..........with foreign firms coming employment should increase but bosses and partners who I'll treat their own associates are probably not going to get entry to these foreign firms no matter how big their Indian client book*the Indian clients will not jump to foreign firm easily given its expected foreign firm will be expensive........
In response to SILF trying to potentially block this move, we (me and a couple of other law firm associate friends) are planning to send a representation to the BCI in support of such move. We have made a document for this effect and we need your (law students, associates, partners) so that the BCI knows we are all overwhelmingly in support of this move. Let’s put the days of slavery by family owned slave traders behind us forever. Abhi nahi toh kabhi nahi. Link: https://forms.gle/4x7VLEE1npCYcdMs9
FYI, Just want to clarify, there's no way for us to verify that it's an authentic initiative, so sign at own risk, though the letter seems to be well-argued and well-intentioned. Is it an anonymous group that's behind this petition? Any more information you can share?
I’m just a tired A2 with a couple of other tired associates across levels getting emails everyday on end of work from home, bonus being affected because of slow year and terrible work life balance. Have waited for this for years and don’t want it to vanish, and if SILF is indeed going to win, god knows we won’t go down with zero effort.
@legally India, why error 404 is coming if we're trying to start up a new conversation?
Hi, thanks for reporting, the link from the homepage was broken, this has now been fixed.
I really hope this impacts the syllabus taught in law schools to cover laws that are pertinent internationally more. Also teach corp, M&A, compliance in more depth as migration chances or working for foreign firms might increase
Spot on. I posted a similar topic saying that we need more such courses instead of human rights and BA courses but was voted down (I would guess by a majority of people who want law firm jobs with easy marks and by a minority of JNU types who actually believe studying BA and human rights courses serve any purpose).
A 10-word comment posted 10 months ago was not published.